The Magic Of Larry Jennings

In one of the tape recordings Larry Jennings sent us he says, "The ideas behind top class magic, particularly card magic, are beautiful ideas. When you examine someone's tricks its like taking a walk around inside their mind to see how they overcome difficulties. Its like an insight into their personalities. That's why I like Dai Vernon's magic - it has a quality about it. One cannot put a finger on it - its simply that every trick that the Professor touches comes out of a better grade than other things one sees around. Most of the tricks I do are coloured by the Professor's work. This is natural because I like to consider myself a student of the .Professor, and consequently it is very difficult to separate what is mine from what is his, as I use suggestions of his all the time."

For some time Larry Jennings been closely associated w i th Dai Vernon, which has resulted in a very firm friendship. Both magicians perform regularly at Hollywood's Magic Castle and the several effects recorded on tape and described here are those which are being performed at this centre of magic.

The first trick is based on an effect by Hof zinser but moves by Dai Vernon, Roy Walton and Larry Jennings himself have been employed to bring it about.


The four Aces are removed from the pack and placed in a face down packet on the table. A card is selected from the rest of the pack, noted by the spectator, returned to the pack, which is then shuffled. Taking the Joker from the pack, the performer hands the Joker to the spectator and tells him to wave it over the Aces as he thinks of the suit of the card he selected. When the Aces are shown one of the Aces has turned face down, and when turned face up is found to be the Ace of the same suit as the selected card. After the Ace packet is turned face down again, the Joker is placed face up in the pack and the latter is waved over the Aces - the Joker changes to the Ace which was shown to have reversed itself in the packet, whilst the reversed card in the packet is now found to be the selected card.

The effect may read complicated in print, but visually it is ward and very strong. Dai Vernon has personally selected tricks from Larry Jennings' repertoire for inclusion in this book, and his choice has been influenced by the fact that he has been able to assess the reaction of the audiences at the Magic Castle. He considers the effects to be first class magical enter-la lament, and sufficiently different from the usual run of card tricks to be quite new to audiences.


1. Have the spectator shuffle the pack, take it from him and turn it face up. Run through the cards with the faces towards yourself, and when the Joker is seen cut the pack to bring the Joker second from the face of the pack. Continue running through the cards and as each Ace is reached, up-jog it for about half its length out of the pack. When all four Aces ha ve been upjogged, strip them from the pack and place them in a face-down packet on the table in the order Diamonds, Hearts, from the face of the packet. This is the order Larry Jennings uses, but any remembered order will do and the reader may prefer the more familiar CHaSeD formula.

2. Turn the pack face down and have a card freely selected by spreading the cards between the hands in the usual way. Tell the spectator to remember his card, and place it back in the pack somewhere near the centre as you shuffle the cards. Begin shuffling the cards and when the spectator replaces his card, drop all the cards from the right hand on top of it so that the Joker is now two cards above the selected card. Again begin to shuffle, this time the old "Red and Black" overhand shuffle is employed. That is, small blocks of cards are pulled off as normal but when near the centre of the pack, single cards are run off in reverse order until it is certain that the Joker and the selected card have been passed, then blocks of cards are pulled off again to complete the shuffle.

Turn the pack with the faces towards you and tell the spectator that for this effect you have to use the Joker. Without letting the spectator see the faces of the cards, run through them till you reach two cards past the Joker, in other words the Joker, an indifferent card and the selected card. Note the suit of the selected card and pick up a break under it with the left little finger. Square up the left hand packet with the Joker on the face and still hold a break under the three face cards of that packet. Show the Joker and push it up with the left thumb then place the cards from the right hand on the face of the left hand packet, leaving the Joker upjogged for about kali its length. As the right hand cards are placed on the left hand packet, pick up the break with the right second or third finger, by inserting the finger into the break.

This makes it simple to cut at the break and place all the cards below the break on the face of the pack. This gives the impression that the Joker goes to the back (top) of the pack. Square up the pack, pushing the Joker down with the left forefinger then turn the pack face down.

3. Pick up a break (left little finger) under the top card of the pack. We know this card (say Ten of Spades) because we looked at it and remembered the suit.

We now need to have the Ace of the same suit (Spades) in the third position from the face of the Ace packet (or second from the top). In our example the Ace of Spades is already in the correct position, due to the CDSH set up, but if the selected card was some other suit, we simply bring it to third position from the face as we pick up the Ace packet. For example if the selected card was a Diamond, we would use the top Ace of the packet to scoop up the other three cards, which would bring the Ace of Diamonds third from the face. If the card was a Heart then the top three Aces of the packet are picked up, and the other Ace scooped up with them. The object is to get the required Ace to the third position from the face of the packet.

The Ace packet is placed face up on the face down pack and squared. The right hand comes over the pack, the thumb at the rear, to pick up the break under the selected card and lifts the face up Aces with the face down selected card behind them (Photograph 1 shows an exposed view from underneath) then moves them up and to the right about an inch, across the top of the pack. As this is done, get a break under the top card of the pack with the tip of the left second finger - Photograph 2 shows an exposed view from underneath, and also shows the holding position of the packet on the pack.

4. Take off the face Ace (Clubs in this example) and place it under the Ace packet; it does not have to be perfectly squared. Remove the next Ace (Diamonds) and do likewise. Remove the next Ace (Spades) and place it under, but into the break; that is the left inner corner goes under the top card of the pack. The method of placing this card is seen in the view from underneath in Photograph 3. (Actually the face of the Ten of Spades would not be seen as it would be covered by an Ace). Now take hold of the Aces with the right between the thumb at the right outer corner and second finger underneath, and slide them to the left over the top of the pack, moving the Ace of Spades also under the top card, but holding the top card so that it does not move, until the position is reached as in Photograph 4. Note that the left forefinger is curled around the outer end of the Aces, with the thumb along the side. The right hand now comes over for the right

second finger to press down slightly on the outer end of the Aces. This lifts the inner end so that the right thumb can butt against it. The position is shown in Photograph 5, but the lifting has been exaggerated for clarity.

With the right thumb and second finger move the top Aces forward, leaving the Ace of Spades underneath the top card of the pack. When the Ace packet has been moved forward sufficiently so that the left forefinger can reach the end of the Ace of Spades (Photograph 6 shows an exposed view, but no face card would be seen in the gap) forefinger pushes this Ace flush with the pack under cover of the other Aces. Simultaneously the right hand moves the Aces (three Aces and the selected card) to the position shown in Photograph 7.

5. Place the Ace packet face up on the and as this is done get a break under the top three cards of the pack. This is achieved by riffling cards singly with the left little finger.

The position from the top of the pack is: - a face-down indifferent card, face-up Ace of Spades, face-down Joker, then the break.

The Vernon Push Off Lift is now executed as follows: -

Move the left second finger under the pack to the outer right side of the three cards, the break allowing the tip of the finger to contact the under edge of the third card down. With the left thumb on top of the top card, the three cards as one are pinched between the thumb and second finger. The second finger and thumb are now which pushes back three cards as one over the right side of the pack. Bring the right hand to the three cards and turn them over together, letting them fall square onto the top of the pack. As this happens pick up a break under the three cards with the left little finger.

6. Remove the Joker (which is face up) and hand it to the spectator, asking him to wave it over the Aces on the table and think of the suit of his selected card.

When he has done this, pick up the Ace packet and place it again in position on the pack as shown in Photograph 7. Take hold of the Ace packet at the inner right end between the right thumb and second finger. Bring the Aces over square on the pack, for the left thumb to go on top of the Ace of Hearts to hold it, as the rest of the packet is moved to the right and out from underneath. In other words the leftthumb drags off the Ace of Hearts as the rest of the packet is pulled out from underneath. Drag off the next card (face down card) in the same way, leaving it fanned a little, then the Ace of Clubs and finally the Ace of Diamonds. In this way you have thumbed the Aces onto the pack, leaving them fanned a little, reversed their order and have shown the spectator that one Ace has reversed itself in the packet of four

Aces (actually the reversed card is the selected card).

Move the right hand to the pack prior to turning the fanned Ace packet face down, and insert the right second finger into the break which has still been retained under the six cards. Move the cards down about half an inch as you turn the block of six cards over, so that a break can be picked up under the block.

Thumb over the top card, revealing the face up Ace of Spades, then push it over to reveal a face down card. You cannot go further or the face up selected card would be revealed, so you only thumb over the first two cards. This proves to the spectator that the face down card he saw in the face up Aces was the Ace of Spades, so ask, "Is it correct that you thought of a Spade?" and he will answer "Yes."

With the two cards still fanned on top of the pack, tip over the whole block of six cards once more, the fan being maintained until they begin to fall, then they are let fall square onto the pack but again a break is held under the block as it is tipped over.

Fan off the Aces; the Ace of Diamonds, the Ace of Clubs, the face down card and the Ace of Hearts and place them on the table.

7. Pick up the Joker and place it face up and square on top of the pack. Remember, a two card break was held, and this now becomes a three card break. Move the right hand over, thumb at inner end and second finger at outer end and pick up the break with the right thumb. Lift the whole pack with the right hand retaining the break, and place it on the table, but immediately liftoff half the pack and place it in the left hand, picking up the break under the three cards with the left little finger. The other half is now taken from the table with the right hand and placed on top of the cards in the left hand - in other words the face up Joker has been buried in the centre of the pack.

We now come to the Jennings Reversal and this is prepared for and executed as follows:

Spread the cards between the hands until the face up Joker is reached and say, "Remember, the Joker is face up in the pack." As you begin to square up the pack again, the right hand brings the cards back over the left hand portion, but still in a fanned condition. The left little finger goes under the block of three cards and the left third finger goes above the block of cards. The right hand pushes the cards over in a loose packet on top of the three cards, then changes its position. It grips the pack, all four fingers at the outer end and the thumb at the inner end, that is as if the Pass is to be made - and in some respects this is what is to be done. What actually happens is that a Pass type movement is started with the three cards trapped between the left little and third fingers. Only three cards rotate out of the pack and come down to form a V underneath the pack, partly reversing but are still clipped by the left little and third fingers. While this happens the top and bottom halves of the pack are still held by the right hand. Now the left second finger curls underneath the pack, forcing the three cards up against the face of the pack. The pack never changes position while this is happening. The reason for curling the left second finger under the pack is to bring the packet of three cards up against the bottom of the pack, instead of the pack dropping down. Finally the pack is squared by running the left hand back and forth along the the pack being held in the right hand with the left second finger still curled under the pack.

The common fault in a half pass is that the pack jumps as the move is made. This has been eliminated in Larry Jennings' method, because the pack is held by the right hand into the crotch of the left thumb. When the cards have been pulled out of the pack and begin to rotate face downwards, the left second finger curls under the pack forcing the cards up against the bottom of the pack. This ensures that the pack does not drop or jump, a fault that shows that something is happening.

8. Place the pack on the table and ask the spectator to cut the pack and complete the cut. Pick up the pack and wave it over the face-up Aces on the table. Spread the pack and show the Ace of Spades face up in the middle, the effect being that the Joker has changed to the Ace of Spades. Turn over the four cards on the table and reveal the selected card - the Ten of Spades. Photograph 8 shows the completion.

The patter is left to each individual as that which Larry Jennings employs would not be suitable for universal use.

As stated at the start, Larry Jennings has employed some moves devised by other magicians. The method for stealing a card from a group of cards is Dai Vernon's, who has been using it for about forty years. It is one of the cleverest methods of all for stealing a card, as it looks so natural and works beautifully.

The method for showing that an Ace is in the packet when actually it is not there at is a lovely idea of Roy

Finally, the method for reversing cards (the Half Pass) is Larry Jennings' own. Dai Vernon set an exercise for Larry and suggested that he should find a way of reversing cards without any tell-tale movement of the pack. Dai Vernon's verdict is that it is a beautiful item of card magic.


We have given this trick the above title because it uses an entirely new move devised by Larry Jennings, for reversing a card or cards. Actually the move itself has been dubbed LARRE VERSE by others and is known by that name by the few magicians who have been shown the secret. This is the first time it has appeared in print and we predict that it is going to be applauded and treasured by all card enthusiasts.

Here we are given a remarkable method for reversing a the only one we know whereby a card can be reversed directly under a spectator's nose without any fear of it being detected. Everyone who has been shown the reverse acclaims it as the best they have seen. In a tape recording sent to us, Dai Vernon says, "This reverse of Larry's is very beautiful. I hope you will say that I consider it to be one of the real gems that has come out in recent years. Larry does it flawlessly and in a perfectly natural manner and no one can ever suspect that any skullduggery is going on."

The effect described is a standard one, but by using the new move it makes it a very strong item, and will even fool the people who know the usual methods for reversing a card. Actually the move has many uses. It is a very good utility move for reversing one card, or a block or group of cards.

As the effect is and will be clear as we proceed, we pro pose to describe the method, inserting the description of the reverse in the correct place.


Larry Jennings has a card selected, noted and returned to the pack. He brings this card to the top of the pack by the Pass, but any preferred method can be used.

The pack is riffle-shuffled on the table, retaining the top card in position, then given a false cut. Here again Larry Jennings uses a method of false-cutting of his own, a description of which is given here for the first time.

The Jennings False Cut:

Photograph 1. This shows the position of the hands. The pack is on the table as if ready for another riffle shuffle. The right thumb is on the inner right end, the first finger is curled on top, and the second and third fingers are on the outer end of the pack. On the left side the left thumb is on the inner end, the forefinger curled on top and the second finger only is on the outer end of the pack. The right second finger picks up a break (very slightly) on the top third of the pack, allowing the left second finger and thumb to pull out the centre of the pack. As soon as this occurs the right hand moves the top and bottom portions of the pack forward. The photograph shows the action about half completed. Notice that the upper and lower portions of the pack are being moved forward, while the centre section is being held back. In the photograph Larry Jennings has his third finger on the centre section but this does not matter. In any case the picking up of the top part of the pack can be dispensed with when one is familiar with the cut.

From the position seen in the photograph the right hand moves forward leaving the bottom portion of the pack on the table, then continues forward and leaves the upper portion on the table. The position is now that there are three packets of cards in a row on the pointing away from you. The right hand moves back to the inner packet, picks it up and places it square on the centre packet. These two combined packets are placed on top of the third packet but jogged so that a break can be picked up again. The left hand goes to the left end of the packet, the left thumb picks up the break, the right hand undercuts the bottom portion of the pack and places it square on top. This completes the false cut. As far as the spectators are concerned the selected card is lost.

The spectator is asked to give any number at all and it is stressed that there is no restriction on the number he may choose. Normally it will be a fairly small number but it really does not matter. Say the number given is "ten." We are now getting ready for the secret reverse, so study the text and photographs carefully with the cards in hand. Remember, the spectator's card is on top of the pack.


Holding the pack face down in the left hand, thumb off single cards with the left thumb into the right hand, reversing the order of the cards as they are counted. When nine cards have been counted, place them partially back on the cards in the left hand, spread the nine cards between the hands and say, "Here are nine and as you are holding the spread nine cards with the right hand, use them to tip over the next card, face up, onto the pack as you say, "...and here is the tenth card..,itis not your card is it?" The answer will be "No." Say, "I wanted to show you this because many people think they are influenced when choosing a number and that I would know the number beforehand, but this is not the case."

When the tenth card has been turned up, get into the position shown in Photograph 2 - a rear view; that is the right forefinger butts the edge of the card just above the face up card and the right little finger also butts on the edge of the same card. As soon as this position is reached, the right second finger moves over and rests on the back of the face up card - this is seen happening in 3 (rear view). The right hand begins to turn the cards it holds face up by turning the right hand inwards towards the body. As this happens the right second finger pulls the face up card back until it butts against the first and little fingers. This is seen partially happening in Photograph 3 - the action is not quite complete but is nearer completion than in Photograph 2. Notice what is happening - the right second finger is pulling the card back so that it butts against the first and little fingers. When that happens the card will line up perfectly with the selected card above it. The hand continues on inwards (in other words you are turning the face up card face down) and it is rotated inward until the card is completely face down. The face down card (and the one aligned with it) is placed onto the packet in the left hand and the left thumb clips the outer left corner. This is shown in Photograph 4 - notice that the right hand cards are face up and the packet is just coming up from underneath the top face down card which is clipped by the left thumb against the pack. Move the right hand out so that the card is left face down to cover the now face up selected card, then turn the right hand over again. Say, place those nine cards (actually eight) back on top of the tenth card - would you hold the pack for a second" and hand the pack to the spectator. Snap your fingers over the pack then have the spectator count down to the tenth card which he finds is his card, face up, in the tenth position.

That is the completion of the simple effect and mastery of it will demonstrate how the Larreverse is employed for the reversal of a single card. However, it can be used in many ways. If a face-up card is directly under a facedown selected card, you can pretend to notice that the card is face up unintentionally and say, "Oh ! I beg your pardon" and turn the card face down, using the Larreverse and thereby reversing the card for later use.

In Photograph 5 we see how the move can be used for reversing a block of cards. For this the technique is changed slightly. Let us assume we need to reverse four cards. Have a face up card in the pack, left over from the preceding effect. Spread down to the face up card and four cards above it, and mark off with the right first and little fingers as explained. Now when you reach the face up card show it and place the left fingertips on its back. Now the right hand slides the face down cards over the face up cards until the face up card butts against the right first and little finger. The packet is now turned over inwards and the whole group of cards is clipped with the left thumb. The right hand rotates its cards face down again and you have reversed the four cards. Obviously, this could have been three, four, five, six or as many cards as required.

That is Larreverse.

To illustrate the versatility of Larreverse we will now describe two more of Larry effects in which he uses this clever stratagem. In each item selected cards reverse themselves in the pack, so we will confine our description to methods only.

Double Reverse:

Fan the pack face down between the hands and have a spectator point to any card. Flip this card face up on top of the left hand packet by bringing the left side of the spread cards in the right hand under the right side of the card and lifting upwards. Let us assume the face-up card is the Four of Spades. Now flip it face down again, but as the right hand spread packet comes over the left hand packet at the completion of the action of turning the Four of Spades face down, clip the bottom spread card of the right hand packet with the left thumb at the top left corner. Separate the hands again leaving the extra card above the Four of Spades. Immediately thumb off this indifferent card onto the table and have the spectator place his hand on it for safe keeping.

2. With the left push the two top cards of the left packet over a little to the right. The cards should be spread a little. This happens as the right hand packet is brought over the left packet - as if to re-assemble the pack. Actually the top (selected) card of the left packet is secretly transferred to the bottom of the right hand packet, and the packets are separated again.

3. Saying, "We'll use two cards...that one, the Four of Spades (indicating the card over which the spectator has his hand)...and this one...", flip over the top card of the left hand packet as before. Let us assume this new face up card is the Six of Hearts. Continue the patter, " the Six of Hearts."

4. Now do the L'srreverse with the Six of Hearts (which reverses the real Four of Spades), but do not re-assemble the pack. Place the right hand packet on the table and ask the spectator to lift his hand. Pick up the card he has been guarding (supposedly the Four of Spades) and place it, still face down on top of the left hand packet. The order of the cards in the left hand packet now is: - face-down indifferent card, face-down Six of Hearts, face-up Four of Spades and the rest of the cards face down.

Pick up the cards from the table and place them on top of the left hand packet.

5. Make a "magical wave" over the pack, then spread the cards between the hands to show that the Four of Spades is now face up in the pack.

6. Do the Larreverse as the Four of Spades is turned face down. Make another "magical wave" over the pack, then spread the cards again to show that the Six of Hearts is now face up.

Peeked Card Reverse:

1. Holding the pack in the left hand, have a spectator peek at a card. Hold a little finger break in the usual way, but squeeze the pack so that it seems that the edge of the pack is even all round. In other words you casually display the pack, without actually saying that "no break is held."

2. Remove the top card, turn it face up and insert it into the break from the rear end. As you do this say, "I want you to take a card and push it into the pack like this."

3. Spread down to the face up card to show then do the Larreverse as you turn it face down which, of course, brings the selected card face up underneath it. Instead of bringing the right hand packet on top of the left hand packet to assemble the pack, place it on the bottom, so that the face up selected card is second from the top of the pack.

4. Turn the left hand over, which brings the pack face up, and thumb off the under (top) card face up onto the table. The reversed selected card is concealed under the pack.

5. Take the face-up pack from the left hand into the right and spread the cards between the hands. Ask the spectator to pick up the card on the table and place it face down in the face up spread. As this is done pick up a break one card below the face down card. Square the pack, holding the break.

6. Now perform the Herrmann Pass. Readers will know that this pass is made in the action of turning the pack over, so that at the finish the top card is face down, the next card face up and the peeked at card is face up somewhere in the centre of the pack.

7. Being careful not to show the second card (face up) in the pack, spread the cards between the hands to show that the card peeked at is now face up in the centre of the pack.


Dr. Daley once said that a good trick has to have a discrepancy, so Larry Jennings devised the following effect with this in mind. The second part is basically a face-up, face-down shuffle of which many have been described in books on card magic, indeed Dai Vernon's "Triumph" is in this category. Larry himself thinks of his effect as the "Discrepancy Trick" and asked us to put a title to it. As it has a gambling patter theme the best we can do is to call it Triumph" - but whatever the it is the effect that matters and there is no doubt that this is first class.


By reading the following suggested patter the effect will be clear: - "'When I was a young man I had a job in which I had to travel from one town to another. One day I met a gambler on a train and when I told him that I was interested in magic he showed me an exercise he used for cutting the pack to find the Aces. He proceeded to cut the pack into three then turned over the top card of each to reveal three Aces. Being a young man and rather brash,, I pointed out that there was still one Ace missing. He said, 'We!! I always do that for guys like and turned over the centre packet to reveal the fourth Ace at the bottom."

"He was kind enough to teach me how it was done, but there was one thing he didn't show me. He shuffled the packets together, face up and face down. After cutting the cards he spread the cards across the table to show that all the cards were now face down, except for four face-up cards - the four Aces!"

The patter tells the story as the effects take place and is a true picture of what happens.


At the start the four Aces are on top of the pack, the Ace of Spades being the top card, then the Ace of Clubs and finally the two red Aces in any order. However, so that the photographs be followed, we will assume that from the top of the pack down, the order is: - Ace of Spades, Ace of Clubs, Ace of Hearts and Ace of Diamonds.

1. Place the pack face down on the table with the long side towards you, as if you were going to begin a riffle shuffle. Undercut one card from the top of the pack to the bottom. This may be accomplished by any preferred method but Larry Jennings uses Dai Vernon's. Bringing both hands to the ends of the pack he picks up a break under the left inner corner of the top card with the tip of the left thumb, undercuts half the pack with the right hand and as this half goes on top, he picks up the card above the break and undercuts to the break to bring the card to the bottom. This brings the Ace of Spades to the bottom.

2. The next requirement is to perform a standard slip-cut. Refer to ยก'ho tograph 1 - with the pack face down on the riffle the left inner corner with the left thumb, allowing about a third of the pack at the bottom to be riffled off. Pick up the break with the right thumb and start a slip cut, the right hand slipping out the bottom third of the pack, away from you to the front, and at the same time taking with it the top card of the pack by having the right forefinger on top as in the photograph. This packet remains on the table; the Ace of Clubs is on top and the Ace of Spades on the bottom.

3. Photographs 2 and 3: Take the left hand packet by the right end with the right thumb and second finger and place it on top of the tabled packet, but it as in Photograph 2, so that a break can be picked up between the packets by the left thumb as in Photograph 3. This is the Vernon Break Control. Photograph 4 shows how this break is now picked up by the right thumb.

Another slip-cut is about to be made. At this point a break is being held

between the upper two thirds of the pack and lower one third with the right thumb; the lower one third has as the top card the Ace of Clubs and on the bottom is the Ace of Spades.

Photograph 5: With the lei f thumb pick up another break of about one half of the cards above the other break. Hold down the top card with the right forefinger as the upper half of the packet is held by the left hand. Move the right hand to the right, just sufficiently for the top card to clear the left second finger. Now move the right hand forward again (away from you). A break is still held by the right thumb as in Photograph 5. As the right hand moves forward about an inch, allow all the cards below the bottom break to remain on the table, then move the right hand forward again and leave the top packet (all the cards the right hand is holding) on the table. Leave all the left hand cards also on the table, but behind the other two packets (nearest to

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